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William Colburn Photographs

Identifier: 1983-08

Collection Scope

This collection contains photographic prints and negatives from Colburn's excavations. These excavations include the J.J. Greenwood Mound near Dillard, GA, East La Port, NC, Gold Mining in Dawson Co., GA, Webster, NC Nickel Mine, Excavation of Soapstone Pot from a ridge two miles from the Fannie Gough Mine, Green Mountain, and Elizabethan, TN. The majority of the photographs document the J.J. Greenwood Mound excavation in Georgia.


  • 1883 - 1966



Access to the collection is unrestricted.


Permission to use collection materials must be requested in writing.


Colburn’s association with Cranbrook began when he visited the Institute of Science in 1932. After this visit he volunteered to fix problems the Institute was having with the display and lighting of specimens in the mineralogical room. Colburn spent a few weeks in December of 1932 working on this project. Then, in 1933, it came to his attention that there were multiple collections of mineral specimens held by the Detroit Museum of Art (now the Detroit Institute of Art) that were not being displayed due to a lack of space. Colburn obtained an indefinite loan of the collections to the Institute, and spent the majority of the summer of 1933 cataloging and displaying the new specimens. Due to these projects Colburn was offered and accepted a position on the Board of Trustees, a position he held from 1933-1944. Through his many excavations Colburn obtained several mineral specimens for the Institute, as well as a generous amount of specimens bequeathed to the Institute upon his death in 1966.


0.91 Linear Feet (OS (box))

Language of Materials



William Colburn was a volunteer and Trustee of the Cranbrook Institute of Science, assisting with the care and acquisition of mineral specimens, including those he collected himself on excavations. This collection consists of several prints and negatives associated with those excavations, particularly the J.J. Greenwood Mound.


Negatives were numbered consequtively (WC#) and matched with corresponding photographs.


Transfer in 1983 from the Cranbrook Institute of Science.

Related Materials

Cranbrook Institute of Science Directors' Records (1990-31)

Separated Materials

Prints were transferred to the Photograph Special Files. Negatives were transferred to the Negative Collection.

Processing History

Jennifer Huff, February 2008

Guide to the William Colburn Photographs
Jennifer Huff
February 2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
Resource record created by Laura MacNewman.

Repository Details

Part of the Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research Repository